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Double Jeopardy

What is Double Jeopardy?

The Missouri and U.S. Constitutions prohibits the government from subjecting a person from being tried for the same offense after once being acquitted. In short, this means that if a person was once acquitted after a trial for an offense, he or she cannot later be charged and tried again for that same offense.

Jeopardy is said to attach in a jury trial when the jury has been impaneled and sworn.  In a non-jury trial, jeopardy attaches when the court begins to hear evidence.  However, if a mistrial is declared due to some irregularity during the course of the trial or because the trial cannot go forward for whatever reason, in most cases the defendant can be tried again for the same offense.  Furthermore, if a jury is deadlocked and cannot reach a verdict and a mistrial is declared, the defendant can be re-tried for the same offense.  Also, in most cases, a defendant can be tried for the same or similar offense in both federal and state court and it not be a violation of a defendant’s constitutional rights.

Remedies to Double Jeopardy

In Missouri, if a defendant believes his constitutional right to be tried only one time for an offense has been violated, the defendant must the issue by pre-trial motion or it can be deemed waived.  Only for good cause shown can the defendant raise the issue at a later juncture.  The appropriate pre-trial motion to be filed is a motion to dismiss where both the defendant and prosecutor will litigate the issues and ultimately the judge will rule on the motion.

Contact a St. Louis Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you have been charged or are facing prosecution and believe your constitutional rights have been violated, contact the experienced and aggressive law firm of Henderson & Waterkotte, P.C. today for a free consultation. Our attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.